Recovering from an injury can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In any case, the healing process requires a lot of rest to allow your body to repair itself and avoid causing unnecessary strain to the injured site. However, this doesn’t mean that you are stuck laying down all day while your physique wastes way—unless your injury prevents you from moving whatsoever.
That said, how can you stay fit while recovering from an injury? While your regular routine may be out of the question for now, there are plenty of ways you can keep yourself active. But first, here are some important reminders:
Know your limits
Your doctor will likely tell you what you can and cannot do while you’re recovering from your injury. Depending on where you injured yourself and how severe it is, you probably won’t be able to do certain things that you used to do, such as running, lifting heavy objects, staying on your feet for too long, and so on.
Although physical activity is still important while recovering from an injury, always know where your limits lie. For example, pain flares up when you bend down to lift something; avoid doing it as much as possible. Or if you can’t seem to go through your at-home physical therapy for longer than twenty minutes, let your physical therapist know so that they can adjust your treatment.
But limiting your movement can pose certain problems in day-to-day life. If you cannot do basic things such as taking a bath, doing chores, or running errands, consider contacting a home care agency that can give you at-home assistance until you regain your independence. Alternatively, ask your family, friends, and neighbors for help, especially if you live alone.
Find another form of exercise
If you are out of commission for more than a week, find other ways to engage in physical activity without putting stress on your injured body part. For example, if you injured your arm, go on walks instead of doing your regular workout routine. If you’re a runner and have injured your leg, now may be the best time to do floor exercises or lift weights while lying supine.
You can also consider cross-training methods such as running in a pool, jogging on an anti-gravity treadmill, walking up and down the stairs, swimming, and more. It all depends on the type of injury you have and how much you can do while you’re recovering—but there is bound to be an exercise that you can do unless your whole body is injured.
Monitor the pain
Pain is a normal part of exercise, but there is a big difference between exercise-related pain and injury-related pain. When you’re engaging in any form of physical activity, always be mindful of your pain levels. Generally, if the pain doesn’t go away after a reasonable amount of rest, you should probably decrease your movement or find another form of exercise altogether.
Furthermore, if the exercise makes your injury feel more painful, stop what you’re doing immediately and rest to avoid making it worse.
Aside from exercise, eating healthy is also an essential factor in staying fit. More than that, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, and minimally processed foods can fuel your body with the nutrients that it needs to recover faster.
Stick to a healthy eating routine, especially now that you’re recovering from an injury. It is highly advisable to consult a nutritionist so that you can modify your diet into one that can help you recover faster and keep your weight in control while your physical activity level is down.
Furthermore, avoid eating foods rich in sodium, sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrates. Not only can these types of foods disrupt your normal weight, but they can also promote inflammation that can make your pain worse.
If you only have a minor injury and won’t be out of your routine for more than a week, just take the time to rest. There will be little to no effect on your physical conditioning if you take a break from exercise in just a few days, so there is no need to worry about losing your physique during this short time.
When you’re avid about fitness, an injury can derail a big part of your day-to-day routine. But as you can see, there are many ways to stay fit and active while you are recovering from an injury—even if that means you won’t be doing your regular workouts for now.